Shieber: John F. Kennedy and baseball

From SABR member Tom Shieber at Baseball Researcher on April 3, 2015:

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum Web site is a treasure trove of information of all-things JFK. Little wonder it has numerous baseball-related items digitized and available to the public. Here are just a few highlights.

In his 1935 Choate Yearbook, Jack Kennedy’s biography notes that he played baseball during the 1931-32 school year. In later years, however, he concentrated on basketball and (of course) football.

On June 24, 1960, then-Senator Jack Kennedy wrote to Hank Aaron to thank the Milwaukee Braves star for his help during the Wisconsin Presidential Primary, a critical victory for JFK en route to the Democratic Party presidential nomination. With Aaron suffering through a month-long hitting slump at the time, Kennedy expressed his hope that Hank would “push that average up over the .300 mark.” Too bad he misspelled Hank’s surname “Aron.”

About two weeks later, just days before the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles, Kennedy received a letter from former major league star Jackie Robinson. Robinson had originally campaigned for Minnesota senator Hubert Humphrey, but ultimately chose to support Richard Nixon over Kennedy for the presidency. In this letter, Jackie made this interesting statement:

Please, don’t consider me presumptious [sic] but I would like to make one suggestion. While trying to impress anyone with your sincerity, you must be able to look them squarely in the eye. I recognize you probably weren’t aware of this, but I found myself concerned because you did not do so with me. I purposely challenged you to see what would happen and found your eyes going elsewhere when talking with me. The ability to look a man in the eye is important, at least to me.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: April 3, 2015. Last Updated: April 3, 2015.